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sport of gliding on a breaking wave. Surfers originally used long, cumbersome wooden boards but now ride lightweight synthetic boards that allow a greater degree of maneuverability. Boards are typically from 4 to 12 ft (122 to 366 cm) long; the larger surfboards have a stabilizing fin in the rear. The surfer begins at the point where the waves begin to form, then, facing shore, paddles toward the beach with an oncoming wave. When the wave catches the board, the surfer stands up and glides along the wave's crest—or, in the case of a large wave, in the "tube" formed by its overhead curl. Standing waves in rivers and tidal bores can also be surfed.

Although the origins of surfing are obscure, it is clear that it developed in Hawaii, where it was popular during the 19th cent. It spread to the California coast during the 1920s and became very popular with youth in the United States, Australia, and other countries by the 1960s. Since the late 1990s aerial tricks similar to those done by skateboarders and snowboarders have become an accepted part of competitive surfing. With lifestyles and regimens freer than those of most athletes, surfers comprise a unique sporting subculture.


See B. Finney, Surfing (1996).



a water sport in which participants compete for speed, distance, and duration while riding large, breaking waves in a standing position (without fasteners) on special boards made of cork, plastic foam, or other material. Surfing is popular in Australia, New Zealand, the Hawaiian Islands, and coastal areas in the USA, Indonesia, China, and some other countries.


the sport of riding towards shore on the crest of a wave by standing or lying on a surfboard


("Internet surfing") Used by analogy to describe the ease with which an expert user can use the waves of information flowing around the Internet to get where he wants. The term became popular in the early 1990s as access to the Internet became more widespread and tools such as World-Wide Web browsers made its use simpler and more pleasant.


Examining online material, such as databases, news clips and forums to find some item of interest. It implies quickly moving from one item to another, like "TV channel surfing," the rapid changing of TV channels to find something of interest. See Web surfing.
References in periodicals archive ?
Other room themes include James Dean, Hawaiian surfing, movie men, movie women and '50s music.
And the Hawaiian surfing footage - although edited to hell by surf movie standards - is awesome.
Lilo & Stitch,'' Disney's hit summer animated movie, featured Hawaiian surfing sisters and a wave-riding alien.